Writing in a Bubble

During the time I wrote The Brevity of Roses, I was a member of four different writing groups. Only two were briefly simultaneous, and only one group lasted through submissions of the whole book. My point is that many eyes viewed at least parts of the book while I wrote it. With my novel in progress, the situation is far different. I’m writing in a bubble.

Only four or five people have read the first draft of the opening chapters, less than 6,000 words. I planned not to show any of it to anyone until I finished and edited it once. Now, I doubt the wisdom of that plan. I think that’s partly why writing this book has been so difficult for me. I miss the encouragement. Ideally, a writer should be so confident in their story idea and execution they don’t need cheerleaders.

Yeah, someday …

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not talking about writing a book as a committee project. I had written far ahead of whatever chapters I submitted for feedback. But I needed to hear that someone was interested in reading more, so I wouldn’t give up when the writing got difficult.

I also needed to know the story “worked” for someone besides me. Recently, Heather Simone blogged about seeking feedback on a rough draft. She decided to send the first draft of her current novel out to betas, as she said, “All in hopes that I wouldn’t have to waste time double editing.”

I’ve always claimed to love editing—but that may be because it’s never involved major revision. I’m sure I won’t like it much this time if my beta reader feedback sums up as, “Start over.” Or even worse, “Maybe this one should be stuffed in a drawer.”

Each writer chooses the method that works best for them. Some writers have an alpha reader, someone who reads the first draft, maybe as they complete each chapter. Some may have more than one alpha, which would be more properly termed a small group of first-string betas, who give feedback on an edited version, which is then re-edited before being sent out to a larger group of betas. Others write, edit, and polish before seeking any feedback.

I know, now, I don’t like writing in a bubble. I would like to have an alpha reader. Barring that, I definitely need a small group of first-string betas.

Your turn: Which method do you prefer? And do you let anyone see your rough draft?

Down, but not out …. and a giveaway!

When most writers disappear from their blogs for a week, or more, it’s because they’re busy with some aspect of writing. Not so for me this past week. My WIP has progressed only a bit since I last posted. Even worse, I accidentally deleted two pages of what I’d written the week before. I can’t explain how I executed that maneuver (seriously, I can’t), but I’d saved the file before I realized they were gone. Then, when I rewrote those pages, I discovered I couldn’t recall the original dialogue. Apparently, my characters refuse to repeat themselves.

My energy level took a nosedive this past week, which means brain fuzz too, so I hope that explains the numerous long periods of staring at open files, only to close them unchanged. I couldn’t even keep up my end of several ongoing games of Words with Friends. Not that I’ll use my brain fuzz as an excuse when they all beat me.

At least I can point to past writing—or rather fellow writer Heather Simone can, and did, on her blog Adventures in Writerland. She cited The Brevity of Roses as one of her two picks for the INDIEpendance Day celebration. INDIEpendance Day is all about giving a shout out to “outstanding indie works”, so Heather has greatly honored me. PLUS, she’s giving away copies of both books she chose, so go visit her blog to learn more about it. And if you’re a Goodreader, won’t you please take a moment to vote for The Brevity of Roses on the Indelibles’ “A Celebration of Indie Authors” list?

May all my American readers have a happy and safe Fourth of July. And for you all, may this be the start of a fabulous week!

Versatile and irresistibly sweet?

My email inbox is an abyss. If I don’t respond immediately, I’m likely to either think that I did, or forget I ever received the email. Two months ago Kate Cardon Parish awarded this blog the Versatile Blogger Award. Her email arrived during the comment blitz after WordPress Freshly Pressed one of my posts and was promptly buried in all those email notices.

Recently, Hannah Fergesen awarded this blog the Irresistibly Sweet award. Both rules for these awards state that I must share 7 random facts about myself and pass the award on to 15 other blogs. I’ll combine the rules, meaning I’ll reveal only 7 facts, not 14, and share them with only 15 bloggers, not 30. So, read the enthralling tidbits about me and then go visit Kate and Hannah’s excellent blogs. Then, visit the blogs listed below. Or be rebellious and do none of the above.

  1. I don’t like the taste of coffee … in any form.
  2. I get anxious when I sweat.
  3. The first book I ever checked out of a public library was A Mouse in the House. (Not the book currently in print.)
  4. I have seen a ghost.
  5. By the age of 26, I was the mother of four boys.
  6. I can’t swim.
  7. I’ve worn the same shade of nail polish on my toes for 38 years. It’s by Revlon, and they change the color name from time to time.

Now aren’t you glad you stopped by my blog today? I mean, really, how could you have lived the rest of your life not knowing those facts about me?

Okay, I’m supposed to pass these awards on to 15 blogs, but I know some of you already have these awards or don’t do “fun” posts. If so, ignore the rules and just consider this a shout out to your blog. And I’ll add one extra for luck. New and old friends, in no particular order:

  1. Kayla Olson
  2. Michelle Davidson Argyle
  3. Christa Polkinhorn
  4. T.A. Olivia
  5. Natasha Drew
  6. Jennifer Neri
  7. Laura Best
  8. Amanda Hoving
  9. Cathryn Grant
  10. Christi Craig
  11. Trisha Sutton
  12. Kasie West
  13. Candice Kennington
  14. J.C. Hart
  15. Heather Simone
  16. Judy Croome

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